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your daily reminder that you can simulate the exact light transport for a 3d scene and not end up with something that looks realistic. realism is based on modelling, materials, and lighting. you can make something realistic using the blinn-phong model and some clever fakery. all that matters is that it looks good

even realism shouldn't be the end goal of a 3d artist, it should be your expression and development. you can make a hyperreal 3d scene that is boring to look at. you need visual interest. ultimately art is a way to communicate, and it's important to learn how best to get your message across. realism is just a tool for that goal

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if the art you want to make requires realism, go for it. but don't feel like your 3d art is worse because it's lacking in realism. in my opinion, the only reason art might be lacking is when the artist couldn't execute their vision to their standard. this happens when they were unable to excert artistic control over some aspect of their piece. that can be anything from not having the right brush for what you want to do, or having a nan poisoning bug in your path tracer

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this is why the fetishism for exact light transport algorithms and photorealistic rendering can be insidious. it doesn't matter if the material for some object in your scene is photorealistic when you were unable to get it looking like it did in your head. it doesn't matter that some beam of light wouldn't realistically fall onto some part of the image if having it there would make the image look 10x better.

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this is why when disney made their principled shading model they purposefully added some parameters that would be impossible in the real world. in particular "specular tint"

check out their paper (page 12) disney-animation.s3.amazonaws.

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@SuricrasiaOnline the principled bsdf is really neat imo because it _is_ physically accurate if you need it to be (like when you're trying to integrate rendered objects with real footage) but it lets you be not physically correct in useful ways if you want to

@SuricrasiaOnline One of our favorite examples of this is pointing at The Wind Waker, with its ultra-stylized cartoonish graphics, and comparing it to sports games of the same time period. The sports games look more realistic, but Wind Waker looks better in just about every way.

@SuricrasiaOnline that's actually a quote from Jim Blinn on a poster in the CS building here, going something like "all it takes is for the end result to look good"

which is indeed how Blinn-Phong shading works

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